There is nothing so rewarding or challenging as traveling with a baby, although it can seem like an intimidating experience at first. After all, you likely already feel like you are packing for a vacation every time you leave the house.
When you travel with your baby, you’ll make memories to last a lifetime, and having the best tools ensures those memories are good ones. While there are tons of travel toys and disposable wipes out there to keep the baby happy and clean, it’s the bigger accessories that will make or break your trip.
Look for tools to help you move freely, keep the baby secure, keep your kid well-rested, and keep your gear clean.
Vacationing together as a family is a wonderful way to open up your baby’s worldview and expose them to new experiences that shape their development. Taking your baby on a trip doesn’t have to be stressful when you remember to bring along these last-minute must-haves that will make your life easier.
These Things Will Make Traveling with a Baby Easier
Keep Their Soothers Handy
Most babies enjoy using a pacifier or teething ring to soothe themselves. You might also consider using a pacifier for the first time to help your baby’s ears depressurize during a flight.
If your baby is teething, then freeze a few teething rings ahead of time that you can keep cold in your carry-on bag. Make sure to attach the rings or pacifiers with a clip to their clothing so that it doesn’t get lost.
Plan Some Simple Entertainment
Babies are often quite happy just looking at the world go by through the window, but you may also want a few toys to keep them occupied. Small infant-friendly books, stuffed toys, and textured blankets are all fun ideas to keep your baby from getting bored as you travel to your destination.
Pack Their Toiletries
Hotels are usually quite accommodating, and many of the most popular chains stock a few toiletries that you can use if you forget your own. However, those tiny shampoo and conditioner bottles are always made for adults and can be too harsh for your baby’s skin.
Don’t forget to pack baby shampoo in your luggage since it is the one thing that most hotels don’t have available.
Grab a Bottle
If your baby uses a bottle, then you definitely need a way to warm up the milk to your baby’s preferred temperature. Mini bottle warmers can be set up in your hotel room so that you can avoid having to resort to using the microwave. You can also find portable styles that are designed to work while you are on the go.
Include Some Wet-Dry Bags
The world isn’t baby-proof. It doesn’t cater to stinky diapers and messy bibs, either. If you take your baby hiking, spend an afternoon strolling around the city, or just want to pop out for lunch, wet-dry bags are lifesavers.
Babies often need several wardrobe changes during a long trip. Whether your baby spits up or has a diaper blowout, you’ll be glad that you don’t have to toss their adorable outfit.
Instead, just pop it in the wet bag and launder it as soon as you can. This is also the most sanitary way to handle accidents until you have access to a proper laundry facility.
Their waterproof lining keeps stink, slimy, and wet things contained, but they fit neatly in your diaper bag, so you aren’t stuck with a dirty diaper in hand until you find a trash can.
Make sure to take at least two with you. One holds poopy diapers. The other contains wet, dirty, or stinky clothes you don’t want to mix with the poo.
Everyone wins. Your fellow diners and tourists don’t have to see and smell a dirty diaper, and you don’t have to play Russian roulette with fragile, plastic grocery bags.
Bring a Portable White Noise Machine
Sleeping in a new environment can be hard for babies, and you will want to avoid having to tiptoe through your shared hotel room. A portable sound machine can help drown out the noises from the hallway and nearby rooms.
If your baby prefers music to help them get to sleep, then consider bringing a small music player instead. Either way, your baby will feel more relaxed and hopefully sleep through the night so that you all wake up well-rested.
Consider Bringing an Inflatable Footrest
Depending upon your mode of transportation, you may need to spend a large amount of time holding your baby in your lap. This is especially true if you need to nurse your baby or give them a bottle during the drive or flight.
An inflatable footrest is simply a small cube that packs down to a small enough size to fit in your bag. With an air pump, you can inflate it to help give your feet a boost so that you don’t have to strain to hold your baby in your lap.
Remember First Aid and Medicine Supplies
Few things are worse than waking up to a sick baby in the middle of the night and realizing that you don’t have a fever reducer. Traveling exposes your baby to new potential germs, and you need to be prepared for the possibility that they could get sick.
Pack a thermometer, some over-the-counter medicines, and anything else that you think your baby might need in an emergency. You might not need it, but you’ll be glad to have it if you do.
Your packing list should include everything that your baby needs to stay healthy and comfortable no matter where you are. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to pack and consider doing a pre-vacation shopping trip to make sure that you have all of the necessary supplies ready to go.
Other Inspirational Ideas
You might also want to consider some of these other inspirational ideas to keep your baby safe and comfortable on your travels. A safe, secure baby swing is a real boon for not only soothing but keeping your baby entertained. For a child that is especially fractious or not sleeping well, you could also consider a selection of calming, soothing essential oils to aid their rest and also to help keep Mum and Dad calm too!
Diaper bags have evolved in several directions in the past few years. You can buy a bag so sleek and stylish no one will know it’s for baby. If you’re traveling with a baby, though, you want a bag that rides on your back.
A durable diaper bag backpack makes a huge difference whenever you need a free hand.
No need to juggle the baby and the handle, and it makes a world of difference during a long day of hiking, touring museums, etc. You’re also far less likely to set it down and walk off without it.
Babies sleep best in a familiar environment. A portable sleeper or collapsible playpen lets you take that environment on the road.
They reduce the stress on baby and parents when you stay in hotels, sleep in an RV, or camp in a tent.
Some portable bassinets fold up small enough to fit in a large diaper backpack, and reviews can help you determine which sleeper is best for your travel conditions and your child’s age.
Sling or Front Carrier
No matter how much you love your child, you will get tired of trucking them around in your arms.
If you have a tiny infant or a squirmy one-year-old, you should look into a good sling or a more advanced baby carrier. A sling keeps little babies feeling safe and secure.
Older wee ones may benefit from a carrier that allows both forward and backward seating. This makes it easy for your child to sleep but gives you the chance to aim their kicks away from your belly while they enjoy a broader view.
Slings and front carriers pair exceptionally well with diaper bag backpacks, too.
Suitcases turn into magical, bottomless portals as soon as you need new socks, bibs, pacifiers, or a clean onesie. Think of these zippered packs as mini suitcases within your case. They make organization a breeze, especially while traveling with a baby.
If you plan a long day out, and you want to keep a spare outfit on hand in case of leaks, packing cubes move easily from suitcase to diaper bag and back again.
When it’s time to move on, they simplify clean-up. If your partner or travel buddies are not very baby-savvy, and you need them to find something from the suitcase, labeled packing cubes can save your relationship.
Even if you stay in a five-star hotel, you can’t trust the thermostat. Hotel rooms are notoriously chilly, and that’s even truer of cheap motels.
A good sleep sack keeps your baby warm and happy without overheating or disappearing in a mound of blankets.
If you travel by car or RV, a sleep sack with buckle holes may be invaluable. Lots of drivers crank up the A/C to keep awake, and it’s easier to warm up the smallest member of the family than leave all the adults sweating.
Campers, of course, need a sleep sack the most. While planes, trains, and automobiles get chilly, no air conditioning system is as testy and unpredictable as Mother Nature.
Every family trip looks different, but the right bags and accessories make a world of difference, no matter how or where you travel. Being stocked up and prepared for anything makes traveling with a baby a breeze.
Keep your baby well-rested, content, and warm in a tent or a chilly ice cream parlor, never let dirty diapers end your fun, and carry everything without giving up your hands. The best part of traveling with an infant is when you and your baby are free to explore!